Matt Bean

Rodale has called on a familiar face to helm Men’s Health.

Matt Bean, who has held various editorial positions and digital roles at Rodale, returns to the company as editor in chief of Men’s Health. He will report to Rodale editorial director Mike Lafavore, who was brought in a year ago, to shake things up at the company — and he has. Part of the changes included making key changes at Men’s Health, which led to the departure of longtime editor in chief Bill Phillips in June.

According to Rodale, Bean was the first name that came up to succeed Phillips. He will start his new gig on Monday and split his time between New York and Rodale’s headquarters in Emmaus, Pa.

“Bill’s the guy who really brought me in there [to the company],” Bean told WWD. “I have a huge amount of respect for him. I really loved what he did. I have a different vision for Men’s Health, which is entrepreneurial in nature…and will include growing and developing different franchises.”

Bean referred to his recent past at Time Inc., where he served as senior vice president of editorial innovation. In that job, he helped launch digital brands Extra Crispy and The Drive, in addition to developing the company’s Brooklyn-based content studio, The Foundry. Bean also had a short, arguably less productive, stint as editor in chief at Entertainment Weekly.

Bean explained that in developing new digital brands for Time Inc., he learned more about the business side of publishing, something that has given him new insight into his new role. In returning to Men’s Health, Bean said he will build out verticals on grooming, for instance, and launch new franchises. He also cited the recent launch of Time Inc.’s People/Entertainment Weekly Network for over-the-top video, as something he’d like to do in the fitness space, as well as broaden the title’s reach via television opportunities.

Bean acknowledged that the challenges of the men’s magazine market and the fitness space in recent months, but pointed to green shoots of growth for Men’s Health, including the title’s ability to grow its Instagram following from 100,000 to about 770,000 in six months. Insiders also touted the magazine’s September advertising page count, which is rumored to have jumped nearly 30 percent.

The editor, who during his time at Rodale served as vice president of digital product development, brand editor of Men’s Health and Women’s Health and articles editor at Men’s Health, said he looks to expand on different platforms to bring in new readers while keeping the title’s core “thriving.”